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Most AAL Toxin-Sensitive Nicotiana Species are Resistant to the Tomato Fungal Pathogen Alternaria alternata f. sp. lycopersici

April 2001 , Volume 14 , Number  4
Pages  460 - 470

Bas F. Brandwagt , 1 Tarcies J. A. Kneppers , 1 Gerard M. Van der Weerden , 2 H. John J. Nijkamp , 1 and Jacques Hille 1

1Department of Genetics, Free University, Institute for Molecular Biological Sciences, BioCentrum Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1087, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 2Botanical Garden, University of Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, 6525 ED, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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Accepted 5 December 2000.

The phytopathogenic fungus Alternaria alternata f. sp. lycopersici produces AAL toxins required to colonize susceptible tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) plants. AAL toxins and fumonisins of the unrelated fungus Fusarium moniliforme are sphinganine-analog mycotoxins (SAMs), which are toxic for some plant species and mammalian cell lines. Insensitivity of tomato to SAMs is determined by the Alternaria stem canker gene 1 (Asc-1), and sensitivity is associated with a mutated Asc-1. We show that SAM-sensitive species occur at a low frequency in the Nicotiana genus and that candidate Asc-1 homologs are still present in those species. In Nicotiana spp., SAM-sensitivity and insensitivity also is mediated by a single codominant locus, suggesting that SAM-sensitive genotypes are host for A. alternata f. sp. lycopersici. Nicotiana umbratica plants homozygous for SAM-sensitivity are indeed susceptible to A. alternata f. sp. lycopersici. In contrast, SAM-sensitive genotypes of Nicotiana spegazzinii, Nicotiana acuminata var. acuminata, Nicotiana bonariensis, and Nicotiana langsdorffii are resistant to A. alternata f. sp. lycopersici infection concomitant with localized cell death. Additional (nonhost) resistance mechanisms to A. alternata f. sp. lycopersici that are not based on an insensitivity to SAMs are proposed to be present in Nicotiana species.

© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society